Darren M. Gillis
My current research focuses on the analysis of data gathered during the prosecution of commercial fisheries to make inferences regarding fleet dynamics (temporal and spatial variation in fishing effort) and the biology of fish. Data from commercial fisheries will always have the potential to exceed the quantity of information affordably obtained from research surveys. However, it is critical that the circumstances underlying the collection of these data are understood to avoid confusion between natural and anthropogenic phenomena. To achieve this, my research focuses on the quantification of behavioral patterns of both fishers and fish contained within catch and effort data that may produce a biased representation of the fishery.
The theoretical basis of my work can be found in behavioral ecology, microeconomics, and operations research. Each of these areas share common mathematical foundations based upon the identification of optimal decisions. By testing specific hypotheses about the relationship between fishing success and fleet dynamics (such as vessel movements, species selection, and information exchange) models of decision processes can be developed to reflect fisher's behavior. These can then be used to predict the response of fishing fleets to potential regulatory or biological changes in the fishery or to reinterpret historical catch and effort data.
The methods used to examine these hypotheses include conventional statistics (univariate and multivariate), computer intensive statistics, and simulation models. Current projects involve collaboration with provincial (Manitoba), federal (Fisheries and Oceans, Canada) and foreign (RIVO - Dutch Institute for Fisheries Research) agencies examining the fisheries of Lake Winnipeg, the Arctic, and the Atlantic.